Search for...

How to Make a Reaction Paper Paragraph

by Nadine Smith, Demand Media

    Teachers normally assign reaction papers after students watch a film, listen to a speaker or go on a field trip. In a reaction paper, the writer responds to what she has seen and heard, explaining her feelings and thoughts and relating the subject to course material or her own life. Thus, a reaction paper is a personal composition and does not follow a rigid structure. However, each paragraph in a reaction paper should still include a topic sentence and maintain unity and coherence among ideas.

    Step 1

    Pick one point that the speaker or film made that you found meaningful or convincing or that you strongly disagreed with. Write a topic sentence that explains this point and briefly states your reaction to it.

    Step 2

    Describe your reaction in detail. Write your thoughts, feelings and observations. Use analogies or imagery if helpful. If you went on a field trip, refer to the five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) to help the reader imagine what it was like to be there.

    Step 3

    Explain the reason for your reaction. Detail why you feel the way you do or why you think the speaker or exhibit said or displayed what it did.

    Step 4

    Reflect on the significance of the event in relation to the course, school or even your own life. Discuss how watching or experiencing the event will affect your future, whether it’s something as minor as what happens today or as major as your future career.

    Step 5

    Conclude your reaction paper paragraph with a sentence that brings closure to the ideas you presented, rather than ending abruptly.

    Step 6

    Edit your paragraph for clarity, and correct any grammar and spelling mistakes. Check that the ideas in your sentences connect from one to the other like links in a chain. Ensure your concluding sentence relates back to the topic sentence.

    Style Your World With Color


    • Avoid simply summarizing what happened. A reaction paper covers the writer’s experience; it does not strive to retell the event from an objective point of view.

    About the Author

    Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    Watch An Education Video!